When we think of the dreaded black widow spider, we tend to think “not around here.”
Well, you’re partially correct. I’ll get to that in a moment.
Peyton, a little girl from Madison did what any other normal kid would do when they come across a cool-looking spider: trap it and put it in a mason jar. She named it Sarah.
However, Sarah wasn’t just any common spider. She’s a black widow.
And she wasn’t the first one seen in Peyton’s backyard, either. Earlier that week the Mascari family found a black widow on the swing set.
Now, I always believed black widows lived in places like California or happened to be a member of The Avengers, but it turns out they’re native to Connecticut. But, there’s no reason for people start screaming in panic from the images of deadly black widow spiders dancing in their heads.
Turns out there’s several different variants of the black widow and Sarah is a latrodectus variolus, or Northern black widow. Meaning, she prefers Dunkin’ Donuts and wearing Uggs in the winter.
Entomologist Dr. Gale Ridge spoke with WTNH and said the Northern black widow is actually one of humanity’s biggest allies in the fight against pests. Dr. Ridge also says these spiders are, “Very rare and they’re very shy.”
As for their more toxic cousins, Northern black widows aren’t aggressive and aren’t that big on biting people. If they do latch on, Ridge says, “Many cases they will actually dry bite. They won’t actually introduce venom.”
In the rare chance that venom is introduced, symptoms include: discomfort, redness, and swelling. According to Wikipedia, medical attention is only needed “in the case of increasingly severe discomfort or spreading local redness accompanied by severe pain.”
However, Dr. Ridge says that’s a rare case and that the spiders don’t do a lot of damage. Still, it doesn’t hurt to be cautious with any type of wildlife.
Because they mostly hide out in places like stone walls, it’s very rare to even see one. So, chances of you coming across one are slim to none. So, you can rest easy on that.
As for Peyton and her new pet black widow, Sarah, the two plan to hit up show-and-tell for a bit of mindful education.